Should social networks such as Facebook censor content?

I just finished reading the post on Slashdot this morning about a “hate” group created on Facebook on July 21st of this year.  The hate group used profanity in their name as a derogatory against a religious group.

Before I continue, I want to make it clear that I am just about as middle-of-the-road as you can get.  I have nothing against any religeous group unless their overall philosophy is ‘kill everyone.”  I don’t  believe there are many of those around these days and if there are they must keep pretty quiet.  I also feel that anyone that is strongly bigot-ted towards any group have some serious issues that need to be worked out.  It saddens me to see people feel that much hate and anger towards anything.

Now that the disclaimer is out of the way the real question is of censorship.  Should we expect our social networks to censor?  I am a parent among other things so that is a tough question.  I’ll admit that I use censoring software on my children’s computer to keep away all the nasty things that are not fit for an eight year old so I am guilty of censorship.

I do not, however, censor my wife’s access.  Nor do I feel anyone should censor other adults.  Does that make me a hypocrite or simply a good parent and open minded adult?  You tell me.

In the case of Facebook,  shortly after they were Slashdotted about the hate group the group was apparently shut down.  Now if you try to go to it you are redirected to your home page.  I suppose that it is probably a good thing, however; the group set up to petition Slashdot to remove the group is still active.  They have the hate group’s name in their title as well.  If your going to shut down one, why not the other?

And what does that mean for censorship?  Well, it means that money drives it.  It means that since the group has become a public hot topic it endangers membership and, more importantly, advertising.  Money is the way of the world, even with social networks.  It’s the motivating force behind most decisions to cut something.  Just ask Michael Vick.

I suppose it’s not good or bad, but just the way things work.

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